The nominees for the 2010 Grammy Awards were announced Wednesday evening. Between now and the awards ceremony January 31, I’d like to take a brief look at each folk-music-related nomination in turn, in no particular order.
“Field 13,” as designated by the Grammy Foundation, is titled “American Roots” and covers the Americana, Bluegrass, Traditional Blues, Contemporary Blues, Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, Hawaiian, Native American and Cajun/Zydeco categories. One of the nominees for Best Traditional Folk Album is Cutting Loose, by David Holt and Josh Goforth. This compilation of comedy and music is a treat to listen to, with a surprise around every corner. From the first number, “Aunt Zip at 105,” through titles such as “Morris Norton’s Tune Bow and Paper Bag” and “Railroad Bill” to the last, “Bones, Spoons and Fiddle Tunes,” this is old-time American folk music at its most natural. Telling stories, finding old music, and writing new music about the old, are all essential parts of the folk music tradition.
David Holt has won several previous Grammy awards in his long Texas-to-Appalachia career. I was delighted to find, among his extensive recordings of stories and old songs, my mother’s longtime personal favorite, “Preacher and the Bear.” Josh Goforth is a young storyteller and musician from North Carolina who is making it his life’s work to interest young people in bluegrass and other traditional music. In their first album together, the two have found the right notes.